Content marketing is the new king of advertising by another name and self-employed consulting specialists are advised to produce a regular and relevant stream. Content marketing is an opportunity for consulting specialists to demonstrate expertise to potential clients. Content may appear in the form of podcasts, videos, newsletters, blogs, case studies or, at the top of the heap, a book.

Writing a book is a marketing strategy that gives gravitas to its author and can carry a consulting specialist for years. The consultant as author will almost automatically be positioned as an expert, considered a desirable speaker or panelist at conferences and credible quote source for journalists. An author is an authority.

The original method of getting a book into print was to write a book proposal and shop it around to publishing houses that specialize in your subject. If the proposal looked strong enough to generate sales that would justify the time and money involved in editing, printing and distributing the book, then the author would receive an invitation to discuss the proposal.

That custom continues, but not nearly as often. There are far fewer publishing houses now and competition by aspiring authors looking to get in the door is intense. It is nearly impossible for the overwhelming majority of authors to publish a book conceived to be used for self and business promotion to obtain a contract from a traditional publishing company.

Self-publishing houses and even large photocopy stores have stepped into the breach and opened the doors wide for those who have a business to promote and hope that a book, the ultimate in content marketing, will sprinkle some credibility fairy dust upon them,

In addition to business owners and the self-employed, anyone who feels they have a compelling story to tell, or a family history they’d like to document in print and pass on to future generations, is a potential self-publishing author. Self-publishing is most suitable for authors who are unlikely to attract a traditional publisher and who will sell directly to readers from the author’s website, at seminars, readings, or at other gatherings.

Get started on your self-directed book deal by visiting the websites of self-publishers, so that you can compare services and prices. When evaluating services, pay attention to exactly what you will pay for and watch out for hidden fees. Look for non-template, customized cover design charges; editing and copy editing (i.e., typos) charges; and distribution and renewal fees. Expect to pay $1500.00 – $4500.00 to edit, design and print your book.

Examine with great care (and with the assistance of an attorney who specializes in the field) the subject of author rights.True self-publishing means that all rights to the book lie exclusively with its author. Also, clarify whether you will be able to terminate your publishing agreement at will and without penalty.

Verify that your book can appear in both print and digital formats. According to the Association of American Publishers the e-book trend is soaring, spurred on by Nook and Kindle. In 2012, e-book sales accounted for 23% of all book sales. In 2010, that figure was 9%.

How your book will look (print style, lay-out, etc.) and front and back cover design are other areas of concern. You may want to hire a graphic artist with experience in book production to do art and design work. Certain self-publishing houses offer these services for a fee. Chances are that your money will be well spent. Your book must look professional and represent your brand well. Finally, be sure to use the appropriate paper stock.

Do yourself another favor and hire a copy editor and a proofreader. In fact, this will be among the most important investments you make in your book’s production. It is imperative to guarantee that your book has no errors. Your professional reputation depends upon it. Your publishing service may offer copy editing, but they may not be especially diligent.

Becoming a published author is a much more attainable achievement today than ever before. Your book will be a useful marketing tool, a door opener and a confidence builder for both you and prospective clients.

A significant amount of work must be done to bring the book to life and it will be necessary to carefully research available options—just like any other major goal you plan to reach. Additionally, I recommend that you seek out the blogs of self-published authors for more information and the real inside scoop. For help with your writing skills, join a writer’s workshop.

Good luck and thanks for reading,

About Kim L. Clark

Kim L. Clark is a business strategy and marketing consultant who works with for-profit and not-for-profit organization leaders who seek to achieve business goals. She is the founder and principal of the consulting firm Polished Professionals Boston and she teaches business plan writing to aspiring entrepreneurs. Learn how Kim’s expertise can benefit your business when you visit